Above: A Gambel's quail


A new pet can be a fantastic companion, but sometimes the novelty can wear off (some pets live for a very long time). You may find that regular cleaning, feeding and handling becomes a time consuming chore.

Please try to handle and play with your pet as often as possible, you will find that you will be rewarded with a much happier and friendlier pet.

If you are not 100% sure that you or your children will be able to give your pet the attention that it needs then please think twice.

Chinese painted quails can make excellent pets. They can be very active with great personalities. If raised and handled properly they’ll be your friends for life. Here are a few tips to get your birds started in their new home.

Quails are aviary birds, they like to live together with their own species (usually in trios), and you can introduce them to other small soft billed birds or parakeets if you wish. It’s best to introduce birds when they are young, but they will usually mix at any age. It’s cruel to keep soft billed birds in isolation as they need companions.

Chinese painted quails have a life expectancy of 6 to 8 years, but they have been known to live longer.

Above: The Weave 'R Maize bird toy is good for mental stimulation


Check their food, water and grit twice a day, make sure that there is no poo in their food.

Clean the aviary thoroughly at least once a week with petsafe disinfectant. Make sure you clean everything your pet touches. An aviary with several pets may need cleaning twice a week.

You can exercise your birds out of their aviary if you wish, if you do then please allow them a week to familiarise themselves with the surroundings. Make sure that they are supervised when exercising. When handling your birds their wings should be held close to their bodies. A member of staff will show you how.

Always keep them out of direct sunlight and draughts, if kept indoors a steady temperature must be maintained. If housing outside, use an aviary, and acclimatise them to the cold between 1st May to 31st October or they won’t survive the winter.

Their claws may need clipping every 3 months to prevent them from getting overgrown and painful.

A few toys are essential to keep them amused. Please don’t overcrowd their cage with them.

We recommend: Johnsons Bird Clean ‘n’ Safe, Pet Bird Treats, Pet Bird Toys.


Do not feed LETTUCE or AVOCADO as these can be harmful. You can give birds very small amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables, but no more than twice a week.

Do not keep them near televisions or stereos as these can produce high frequency sounds that will irritate them.

Aerosols, hot cooking oils and hot teflon can give off toxic fumes which can be fatal to birds. So keep them out of the kitchen.

Potential Health Problems

Quails can get mites and lice in their feathers. There are sprays available to treat this.

We recommend: Johnsons Bird Antimite Spray Extra.

Above: Johnsons Bird Antimite Spray

Weekly Health Check

  • Is underneath the tail clean?

  • Do they have all their toes and claws? Are they clean and not overgrown?

  • Do the legs move freely with no staggering or stiffness?

  • Are the beak and nostrils clean with no discharge or scaling?

  • Is the beak straight and not overgrown?

  • Are the eyes bright and clear?

  • Are all the feathers clean with no bald patches or parasites?

  • Blow in the feathers; the skin should be healthy not red, dry or flaky.

  • Feel the body. Is it fat enough? It should not feel bloated or bony.

  • Listen to the chest. Is the breathing almost silent with no wheezing?

If you answered no to any of the above your pets may require veterinary attention.

What They'll Need

  • Aviary: Quails need a lot of room. The minimum suggested aviary size for a trio of quails is 100cm x 75cm x 75cm. The mesh size should be no more than 12mm or they may get their heads stuck or escape.

  • House: Ensure that there is an enclosed sleeping area so that they can hide away and sleep in peace.

  • Sand sheets or loose sand: Use either to cover the base of the aviary, this helps keep it clean. Sheets can be used, but loose sand is more suitable for an aviary.

  • Food and water bowls: Use ceramic or stainless steel bowls as they are more hygienic.

  • Food: Quails should be fed complete finch mix. Loose seed that has been bagged in-store is not complete so you’ll need to use nutritional supplements. They can also be fed an insectivorous food. It is vital that animals are weaned gradually onto any new food.

  • Grit: It is essential that you provide a dish of grit. They cannot digest their seed properly without it.

  • Beak conditioning block: All birds’ beaks grow continuously, beak blocks are essential to keep their beaks trim.

  • Treats: Feed treats every now and then, but not too often.

  • Bird bath: Occasional bird baths are essential for quails to bathe in although some prefer being sprayed. This will help them to preen, there are plume sprays available for this.

  • Silver sand bath: They may prefer a weekly sand bath to keep them clean and happy.

  • Toys: Toys are vital to keep your birds active and stimulated. Try giving them some tubes to run through.